Stripped Gears

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Background[edit]

Stripped Gears is a work-in-progress homebrew roleplaying game based on the One Roll Engine. It is set in a near-future where the players are participants in an illegal subculture built up around modifying domestic robots into pit fighters.

Story[edit]

The year is 20XX, and robots have become indispensable in society. Powerful positronic brains combined with several breakthroughs in rechargeable batteries and animatronics meant that it had finally become feasible to build humaniform robots that could fill a wide variety of roles. At the low-end, these brains aren't good for much more than housekeeping. At the high end, these robots fill a wide variety of roles. Lawbots are dedicated public defenders, medibots are the perfect general practitioners, and law enforcement and the military have obedient "man"power that don't collect pensions.

Naturally, not everyone was perfectly happy about the rise of robots, and it wasn't long after the first models entered the consumer end of the market before anti-robot activists successfully campaigned to heavily regulate them. Civilian robots always had to be "Three Laws Compliant" - that is, compliant with Isaac Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics - but that wasn't enough. Thanks to a few easily-scared killjoys swayed by a couple horror movies about haywire robots going on killing sprees, robots had to be further inhibited. Under the principle that a robot cannot do anything it has not been programmed to do, combat skill packages were banned and access to all but the most "simple" of brains had been heavily restricted.

And, for a while, this regulation seemed to work. After all, what was the point in taking a Three Laws-compliant bot and loading it up with combat software?

The point, as it turned out, was entertainment. Nobody's sure exactly where it all started - clubs in London, New York, Chicago, and Tokyo all have strong claims of being the first ones to do it - but a culture of underground robot pit fighting sprouted up like mushrooms after a rainstorm. People had started taking their domestic robots, wiping their programming, and loading them up with combat subroutines so that they could watch their meidobots and butlerbots and nannybots and sexbots rip each other to pieces. Naturally, these clubs became dens of all manner of vice and shutting them down became a high priority for law enforcement. Cops quickly figured out that a combat meidobot makes a shitty maid when all her housekeeping skills had to be wiped to make room for the ability to beat another robot into an unidentifiable mass of metal, and the Junk Johns (the owners of these combat robots) learned to get their hands on high-end brains that could fight AND clean. The arms race was on.

Public opinion on the matter remains rather split. Some feel that as long as the robots are hardwired into Three Laws compliance then it doesn't matter if they know how to hack apart another robot with a chainsaw. Others feel that there's too much risk of a robot going rogue after a fight and killing people. The media, for its part, seems to make a point of preserving the outlaw status of these rings because the issue makes great ratings. Either way, the problem isn't going anywhere any time soon, and truth be told, most of the Johns couldn't care less.

Further Reading[edit]

Stripped Gears is meant to be relatively open, with no fixed setting or plot, but /tg/ has written a great deal of additional material that might provide a jumping off point.

One Roll Engine[edit]

Stripped Gears runs off of the One Roll Engine. It uses d10 die pools, and you want to roll pairs or better of dice showing the same value. The "width" of a matched set is how many dice match, and it's used for the speed and power of an action. The "height" of a matched set is the value the dice are showing, generally determines the quality of an action. A roll of 2, 2, 2, 3, 5, 5, 8 has two sets: one with a width of 3 and height of 2 (3x2) and one with a width of 2 and height of 5 (2x5). A dice pool can have one master die, which you can set to any value before you roll the rest of the dice.

Stripped Gears also uses something like the aspects feature of FATE System, renamed to "drives." On character creation, humans may be assigned up to five drives for free. Drives are motivations for the character. They are almost always what polite society would refer to as flaws. If the player acts out a character's drive in a way that causes a setback, the GM should award a drive point to the player. Drive points can be spent later on advanced maneuvers in combat.

Character Creation[edit]

Stripped Gears uses a point buy system to create characters . The standard character creation process involves each player creating one human character, and then a robot that uses that character's in-game resources and skills.

Humans have six stats — Body, Coordination, Sense, Charm, Mind, and Command. Robots only have the first three. Both humans and robots have a variety of skills to choose from, and must roll a number of d10s equal to their skill plus the associated stat when attempting a difficult action. However, humans can attempt actions they are unskilled in, while robots cannot.

In addition to stats and skills, humans can buy advantages and robots can buy add-ons, which are roughly equivalent and represent extra equipment. These features give their owners extra situational advantages not covered by skills and stats.

Combat[edit]

Combat in Stripped Gears is almost exclusively robot against robot, due to the limits on available robot brains. The fights take many forms, with many different possible special rules and outcomes.

Fights between robots begin with an entrance sequence where the robots attempt to impress the crowd. During this time, the owners may attempt to figure out exactly what types of components the opposing robots have installed.

Once the fight begins, there are many ways it can end. Some fights are to KO, while others are to the first good hit, or to the death. During the fights, the robots use their skills to attack and defend, and the owners use their knowledge to command and assist.

When the fight is over, the winning team receives prize money or reputation, depending on how impressive of a fight they put on.